Sunday, 31 May 2015

Out With My Camera: Ooty (Day 2)

After the exciting Day 1 of my holiday (which you can read about here) I was more than eager to get started on day 2. More than anything, I looked forward to the drive, which was so much better than what I expected it to be. 

Our plan was to go to Emarald Dam (not a typo) and Avalanchi Lake. These were breathtaking locations that weren't previously allowed access to for tourists as it is said to be quite dangerous. Quite recently, the Government of India has started allowing tourists to visit these spots so as to prevent people from illegally travelling there, sometimes resulting in accidents. 

Both of these places are around 50 kilometers from Ooty city and, in this case, the journey is far more memorable than the destination. The road takes you pasts endless tea plantations and spectacular views of what lies below. Definitely a must for nature lovers and people in need of a good dose of fresh air and relaxation!

The patch of water seen in the picture above is Avalanchi Lake. It is so named because, according to legend, hundreds of years ago back when it used to snow here (apparently), there was a huge avalanche in this area. The site of the disaster created a slight depression and as time went on water began to collect here and form a lake. 

There are plenty of roads signs to the lake itself, but not too many to Emarald Dam. It is on the way to a lake, but at a point there is a tiny dirt road leading away from the main road towards the Dam. This road is not marked by a road sign and one would have to ask someone in the area for directions. It would be best to use Google maps for this spot. Be sure to set the location when you're around Ooty as the connectivity is pretty bad up in the hills. 

It does involve a bit of trek to get really close to the Dam, but trekking in a place like this is absolutely fantastic!

How gorgeous is this place? It's a bit of magic on Earth. There are loads of pine trees surrounding the area as well and I had so much fine collecting pine cones. It didn't strike me to take pictures. That's how invested I was in the task.

We spent a while there and then returned to Ooty. It started raining as soon as we left the lake but that didn't stop me from taking pictures of everything and anything!

And when it cleared up...

After a late lunch, I pretty much passed out. All the excitement had definitely taken a toll on me. 

The next morning, we left for Bangalore. Before we left Ooty, I wanted to visit the Lovedale railway station as it's a quiet, quaint little station that still holds some of its old world charm. 

Trains are my favourite mode of transportation so it should be of no surprise that I spent over an hour at an empty railway station where one train visits every other hour. 

After this, everything else was pretty much uneventful. That's how things usually are on the highway. We left the comfort of the cold for the scorching heat of the desert like highway, and eventually, the reletively-better Bangalore. That doesn't make me miss Ooty any less. 

If you are planning to visit Ooty, I would suggest going there in the summer (March-June) as this is when it is the most pleasant. In winters, the temperature drop to -4 degress Celsius and in the monsoon, the rains would prevent you from venturing out. Also, make sure to book your hotel rooms in advance. It is hard to get rooms during the peak travel season, but according to travel agents in Ooty, that's how it is all year round. 

When in Ooty, be sure to try their specialty that is homemade chocolates. They are available at every store but find out where the best ones are available. 

Thank you for reading! I hope this post made you want to visit Ooty. I'm off to plan my next holiday!

For more pictures, check out my Instagram

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